Saturday, 11 August 2012

Engine commissioning and start up.

As described in previous posts, the Gardner 3LW engine was built in November 1960 and rebuilt by Walsh's Engineering in 2009. It was delivered to the yard shortly thereafter and has since been in storage awaiting construction of the boat.
Dave put the engine into the boat during the build and we have since installed the shaft, stern gear and main cooling pipes to the skin tank leaving the final fuel piping and commissioning of the engine until now.

Now here's a bit of good luck....
Being a member of the Gardner Engine Forum (owners club) I noticed in the club magazine that Steve Gray, the editor of the club magazine lived half a mile from the yard so I made contact.
I was delighted to find that Steve, a second generation canal boat owner, professional engineer and vintage engine expert with a 3LW and astonishingly well equiped workshop would be available to help with the final aspects of installation of the fuel system and commissioning the engine.
The peace of mind and reassurance of finding an expert close at hand should not be underestimated.

In the last few days Steve completed the cooling pipework leading to the calorifier (see a couple of posts ago) and installed the fuel delivery pipework to the engine and also the Kabola.
Additionally Steve made another thermostat housing to match our cooling and calorifier routing and also the oil pressure gauge bracket seen in the photo below. This puts the gauge close to the engine oil pressure tapping but positions (and angles) the gauge where it can be conveniently seen from the steering position.

Also seen in the photo below are the filters for fuel to the engine (L) and Kabola C/H boiler, the red item at the front of the engine room (R). In use they will be under the fronrt floor panel.

Eventually the moment came to start the engine and with heart in mouth the button was pressed.
The engine fired instantly but died after a few seconds. This was on fuel which had remained in the engine from 3 years ago.
The problem was quickly identified as lack of new fuel and the lift pump which was not actually lifting fuel removed and rebuilt overnight by Steve.
No obvious problem was apparent but the pump had stood for three years without use.
This was refitted and the engine started readily and ran smoothly and with good oil pressure.

After half an hour the fumes in the shed became too acrid and we shut down.
Next day the engine refused to start, once again showing no fuel at the injector pump bleed off.
Steve changed the non return valve at the lift pump delivery side and this fixed the problem so the engine started and ran OK.
These valves are kept clean and in good condition by use and fuel flowing over them so this small bug is consistent with no use over the last 3 years.
Therefore I expect this problem to become less frequent as the engine is used having been shown what to do I will be able to quickly free the valve myself.

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